Tracing its roots to Hakata, the birthplace of ramen, and founded by multiple-award winning chef Shigemi Kawahara, Ippudo is definitely the preferred destination for ramen. Each ‘cosmos in a bowl’ is the perfect meal with a rich pork broth, springy handcrafted noodles, luscious soft-boiled eggs, juicy pan-fried pork and freshly chopped chives.
While ramen is at the core of the menu, Ippudo’s mouth-watering appetisers are stars in their own right. Available at the Pavilion KL outlet, the Soft Shell Crab Bun sees a whole deep-fried crab ensconced between cloudlike bread, while the Sweet Corn Tempura strikes the perfect balance between sweet, salty and umami. Also try the Japanese bestseller Takoyaki – each morsel conceals a juicy chunk of squid and is topped with bonito flakes. Try also the Lasagna Gyoza where pasta is replaced by gyoza in melted cheese and tomato sauce topped with a poached egg.
For something more decadent, head to Ippudo at Bangsar Shopping Centre where menu items showcase the diversity and creativity Ippudo is famed for. The Amaebi & Avocado starter sees the freshest Japanese sweet shrimp served with diced avocado and a wasabi dressing; while the Soft Shell Crab Rice Paper Roll is the perfect combination of deepfried soft shell crab wrapped in rice paper with crisp salad accompanied by spicy mayo. Fusion cuisine gets an appreciative nod with the Spicy Pork Tacos and Samurai Pork Ribs with a caramel and marmalade sauce.
An appealing deal for saké fans is the saké pairing set (RM29), which matches three sakés of varying tastes with small bites like salmon roll with avocado, mushroom wrapped in bacon and a spicy chicken wing. Note that this deal is only available at the Bangsar Shopping Centre outlet.
There’s a reason why Ippudo is one of the most successful and popular Japanese chains globally – its ability to retain its culinary traditions with the ramen and to cater to the progressive tastes of diners using innovative recipes and fresh ingredients have won it loyal fans all over the world.
Pavilion KL (03 2110 6233); Bangsar Shopping Centre (02 2011 6238); The Gardens Mall (03 2201 6238/ www.ippudo.com.my).